Once upon a time, book promotion was a simple, uninvolved process. Authors could go out on a book signing tour, make a few TV appearances and maybe pocket a little extra cash by selling an excerpt to a magazine.
Today, social media has changed that model completely. “Once you were a writer, and now you’re a content producer,” says Cindy Ratzlaff, co-author of “Queen of Your Own Life.” “Today, magazines want you to write a unique blog piece for them for free.”
Ratzlaff and her co-author, comedian Kathy Kinney (you might remember her as Mimi on “The Drew Carey Show”), have been lucky in that respect—three of their posts were picked up by Oprah.com. It’s also been lucky that Ratzlaff’s day job is as a social/brand marketing consultant, so she felt like she had the upper hand in navigating their promotional course through the social realm.
The duo did all the traditional book promotions, but relied heavily on social media like Facebook to build a bond with the core audience for the book, women over 40. The spark for “Queen” originated after Ratzlaff was laid off from a publishing/PR position.
The two women went on a vacation together and hit upon the idea that there should be a ceremony to celebrate moving on to the sec¬ond half of life. This turned into the “crowning” ceremony that is a centerpiece of the book.
“We realized this was an idea that resonated with everyone we spoke to,” says Ratzlaff.
At press time, the “Queen” page on Facebook had 7,600 fans, who are quickly becoming brand evangelizers for “Queen,” supporting projects like a Philosophy beauty prod¬ucts limited edition gift box, and a teaching workshop at the Miraval Spa in Arizona this fall.
“I’d advise authors to build a Facebook page as soon as they get an idea, and use it as market research,” she says. “I can tell when I’ve posted too many things about a teleseminar or a Webinar or something to buy, and not enough things that are inspira¬tional or aspirational and engaging the community. They’re very clear about what they want to hear from us—and what they don’t.”
The authors engaged their royal subjects in early May with a virtual crowning teleseminar ceremony—participants could get a crown to place on their online avatar (these are still available at getyourcrown.com). And promotional partners had access to the attendees, who were offered incen¬tives for participating.